Alumni Spotlight: Julia Strohkirch

I´m Julia from Germany. My dream was to go to Peru after finishing the school. I graduated in 2017 and worked in a German school for a voluntary social year. After that, I made my dream came true and traveled to Peru. I stayedina hostfamily for two month and had the best time of my life. In Cusco I worked in three different projects and made lots of great experiences which changd my way of life.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I wanted to travel to Peru for a long time. I love working with children and want to study social work after my work here. Working with children is enriching and I have fun teaching them education. In this program, I also have the opportunity to live with a host family and get to know the Peruvian way of life.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider has connected me with my in-country coordinator. He organized everything with my host family and my assignment. The program providers also organized my insurance.

I had to organize my flight myself and, if I want to travel, I have to plan it myself too. But if I have some questions, I can ask my in-country coordinator. He has always helped me.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't worry about them too much before. Collect some information about your program and the country to increase your anticipation and then simply travel there and let yourself be surprised. For me, it was the best decision ever to travel to Peru. I didn't think too much before, but simply said: Just do it and let's see what comes.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Before I went to Peru, I was really afraid of the language. I learned Spanish at school, but that's not much. I thought I'd be forced to speak Spanish and then I'd learn it. But at home we speak English most of the time and with my little bit of Spanish I haven't had any problems yet. But I want to speak more Spanish now and no more English. Then my Spanish will hopefully get better soon.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

At a normal day, I get up at about 7am. My host mother prepares breakfast for us volunteers at 7.30. At about 8am, I left home to get to work. At 9am, I start my work in a Catholic school. First I'm with an English teacher in the smaller classes and help her teaching, correcting mistakes and practicing the pronunciation. At 12.45 is lunch break. I eat the lunch my host mother has prepared for me in the morning. After the break, I'm with another English teacher in the older classes, helping her with the same stuff. School is over at 3pm or 3.45.

When I'm not too tired after the school day, I go to the orphanage, which is one door down. There, I'm with the little children. Normally we're playing with them, reading books or helping them going to the toilet. At 4.30, I go back home. We have dinner with the whole family at about 6.30. The evening and the weekends are free.